OCBC Bank has seen strong take-up for its OCBC Eco-Care loans, with more than SGD 3.5 billion ($2.6 billion) extended in the two years since its launch in March 2021. These loans accounted for 1 in 5 home, renovation and car loans extended by the bank during this time frame. Traction in 2022 was particularly strong with the value of OCBC Eco-Care loans extended quadrupling from 2021.
OCBC Eco-Care home loans helped to drive growth in 2022, increasing in value by four times compared to the previous year. They also accounted for close to a quarter of the number of new home loans in 2022, an encouraging sign that homeowners are actively incorporating sustainability into their lifestyles. OCBC Eco-Care renovation loans were especially popular among HDB dwellers. Nearly two-thirds of OCBC Eco-Care renovation loan customers reside in an HDB.
Buoyed by Singapore’s continued electric vehicle (EV) push through incentives and construction of EV charging infrastructure, OCBC Eco-Care car loans also fared well. The value of OCBC Eco-Care car loans extended in 2022 surged by more than 400% from 2021.
The bank expects OCBC Eco-Care loans to continue its good growth. This will come on the back of the Singapore government’s sustainability push, led by the Singapore Green Plan 2030, as well as consumers’ increasing willingness to adopt greener alternatives. The upward trajectory for OCBC Eco-Care loans bring the bank closer to its sustainable finance goal of SGD 50 billion ($37.48 billion) by 2025. OCBC Bank is already well on its way to meeting this target, with SGD 44 billion ($32.98 billion) committed as of the end of 2022.
Encouraging consumers to make greener choices
The 2022 OCBC Climate Index, which measures the current levels of environmental sustainability awareness and climate action among Singaporeans, found cost and convenience to be two key factors holding consumers back from making sustainable choices. OCBC Eco-Care loans appeal to consumers on both these fronts. For instance, under OCBC Bank’s strategic partnership with Charge+, OCBC Eco-Care car loan customers are given three months of free charging credits at the more than 700 Charge+ charging points across Singapore. Charge+ plans to install 10,000 EV charging points island-wide by 2030, making it even more convenient for EV owners.
OCBC Eco-Care loans also offer preferential rates. For example, OCBC Eco-Care car loans, with a rate of 2.48% per annum, are lower than the rate of 2.78% per annum for petrol and diesel car loans. Eco-friendly homeowners who qualify for OCBC Eco-Care home or renovation loans can enjoy a one-time SGD 88 ($65.97) bill rebate when they apply for Senoko’s LifeGreen24 plan this year, in addition to preferential rates.
Sunny Quek, head of global consumer financial services at OCBC Bank said, “When we launched our suite of OCBC Eco-Care loans two years ago, we were cautiously optimistic. Although the sustainability movement had already begun in earnest among businesses, we knew that more had to be done to get consumers to adopt sustainable alternatives. By addressing the top two concerns of Singaporeans – cost and convenience – the take-up rate for OCBC Eco-Care loans have been better than expected and this upward trajectory should continue. Despite inflationary pressures and expectations that the housing market may slow down this year, we are still targeting close to 10% year-on-year growth in OCBC Eco-Care loans.”
“Sustainability is an important growth pillar in OCBC’s corporate strategy and OCBC Eco-Care loans are just one way that we are seizing green opportunities - while simultaneously, doing our part for the environment. Our customers can expect more sustainability-themed products and services from us in the coming year, as we seek to entrench ourselves as a leader in this space.”
A roadmap to achieving sustainability goals
Sustainability has been identified as one of the growth pillars in the bank’s corporate strategy. The roll out of products like OCBC Eco-Care loans are part of this wider strategy. It is also a result of the bank’s dedicated Climate Strategy, which details the bank’s plan to proactively support customers’ transition to a low-carbon economy.
On the sustainable finance front, OCBC Bank has stepped up to do more in recent years, having pledged to grow its sustainable finance portfolio to SGD 50 billion ($37.48 billion) by 2025. This target comes after the bank achieved its previous goals, of SGD 25 billion ($18.74 billion) by 2025 and SGD 10 billion ($7.49 billion) by 2022, ahead of time.
To further its commitment, OCBC Bank joined the Net-Zero Banking Alliance in 2022 —a United Nations-convened and industry-led initiative that was formed to accelerate and support the implementation of decarbonisation strategies. The bank will announce its sectoral financed emission targets by the first half of 2023.
Other sustainability-related achievements in 2022 include the bank achieving net zero operational emissions for the year. The bank also launched the OCBC Mangrove Park with the National Parks Board (NParks), contributing SGD 3 million ($2.2 million) to this effort. OCBC Bank will be helping to grow 18,000 mangrove trees at the OCBC Mangrove Park and the Tebuk Mendeleng mangrove project in Malaysia. In total, these mangrove trees can absorb more than 30 million kg of CO₂ in their lifetimes and protect our shorelines against erosion and storm surges.
Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker